How to Clean White Shoes

White shoes can add a crisp, fresh look to any outfit when they’re sparkling clean. But it doesn’t take long for white shoes to start looking dingy once dirt, dust, and stains build up on the surface. Regular cleaning is essential to keep your white kicks looking as good as new.
Cleaning white shoes properly depends on the material. Some materials require special care to avoid damage during cleaning. Follow these tips to clean white leather, canvas, mesh, and synthetic shoes.

Clean Leather White Shoes

For smooth leather white shoes:
  • Remove loose dirt with a cloth. Use a leather cleaner or mild soap and water to create a lather.
  • Apply the lather gently with a soft brush. Avoid excessive rubbing or saturation.
  • Rinse off the lather completely. Wipe away excess water quickly with a clean cloth.
  • Allow shoes to air dry fully. Apply leather conditioner once fully dry.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals, heat tools, or abrasive brushes that could damage the leather.

Clean White Canvas Shoes

Clean canvas white sneakers:
  • Brush or wipe off any dried mud or loose dirt.
  • Mix a solution of warm water, mild detergent and a tablespoon of baking soda.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush to apply the solution to the canvas. Gently scrub stains.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Stuff shoes with paper towels to absorb moisture faster.
  • Allow you to fully air dry before wearing it again.

Clean Mesh and Synthetic White Shoes

For mesh, nylon, or polyester white shoes:
  • Use a soft brush or cloth to remove dried dirt. Avoid abrasive scrubbers.
  • Make a gentle cleaner by mixing water, mild soap and 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar.
  • Dip a toothbrush in the cleaner and gently scrub stains on mesh or textured areas.
  • Rinse thoroughly with cool water. Dry with a towel, then allow to completely air dry.
  • Repeat cleaning if needed for stubborn stains. Vinegar helps whiten and disinfect.
For more tips, see this guide on how to clean white shoes of all different materials.

Remove Stubborn Stains

For tough stains on white shoes:
  • Use a paste of baking soda and water on stained areas. Let sit 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
  • Try non-chlorine bleach diluted with water for canvas and synthetics only. Do not use on leather.
  • For scuff marks, gently rub the area with white toothpaste using a damp cloth.
  • For grease stains, sprinkle corn starch on the spot to absorb grease, then brush off.

Freshen Insoles and Odors

To keep the inside of shoes fresh:
  • Sprinkle baking soda directly on the insoles. Let sit overnight before shaking out excess.
  • Stuff damp newspapers inside shoes to absorb odors as they dry fully.
  • Open laces fully and wash removable laces by hand or on gentle cycle. Air dry.
  • Disinfect insoles by spraying lightly with rubbing alcohol or vodka once dry. Let air out before next wear.

Protect and Maintain White Shoe Color

Keep your shoes looking new with protective maintenance between wears:
  • Apply waterproof spray to help repel dirt and stains. Reapply every few months.
  • Use shoe trees to help shoes hold their shape and absorb moisture when not being worn.
  • Store white shoes in breathable shoe bags instead of plastic bags.
  • Rotate your white shoes between wears to allow them to fully dry out.
  • Clean after each wear once dirt is noticed. Don’t allow stains to set in.
With the right cleaning methods and care, your favorite white shoes can stay looking crisp and bright for many wears.


Bowen is a business guru who likes to share his knowledge with the world. He has been in the business industry for many years and knows how to make a company succeed. He has worked with many top companies and has taught at some of the best universities in the country. He is a highly sought-after expert in his field, and he loves to help others learn about business as well.

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